The purpose of all true martial arts is the perfection of the human spirit. As a component of the martial path, one must learn to look ahead, read the opponent's intentions, and plan accordingly. Chess trains these abilities and is a powerful tool for those who seek to fight the good fight for themselves, for others, and for their cause.

With this in mind, I set out to assist A. in learning more about chess. She had the basics; I was just asked to explain the why behind the moves. I taught a few openings, exchanges, forks, pins, etc. She learned the openings quickly, grasped the pinning well - yet when it came time to play, she lost interest around the end of midgame. Perhaps she was not interested because there was so much else to do this evening. Perhaps the lessons of chess are too abstract for this practical woman. Theory and activism don't seem to mix...

She is a mystery, this one. At times she is organized, powerful, demanding even. Then when the late hour or stress conspire, she drops into a defensive posture that seems at once spikey and vulnerable. The will to fight is there in abundance, but the skill, the calluses, the hours at the pell, are not yet. In her field, she will soon learn to deal the swift finishing blow - or she won't, and her career will be short. She sees all the warrior philosophizing as just an intellectual pursuit at this point. I hope some of it clicks into place for her before she needs it.


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